The emerging themes of this week have been:
a. catching up with old school friends
b. realising how ignorant I am of the world.
I was chatting to Kevin - who was in my class through infant, primary and secondary schools - on the phone yesterday. He is over in Dalian in Northeast China for the opening of a technology and service centre.
I checked the place out on Wikipedia.
It had an eventful century from the mid 19th to the mid 2oth, having been occupied or "leased" by Britain (1858), Japan (1895), Russia (1898), then Japan again after the Russo-Japanese war. Next, "with the unconditional surrender of Japan in August of 1945, Dalian passed to the Soviets, who had taken possession of the city in advance of the end of hostilities and remained in the city until 1955." I find this astounding.
Here's another thing that astonished me: Dalian's "Yuguanjie Church [was] built in 1928 ...... by the Anglican Churches of Britain and Japan jointly." The Anglican Church of Japan? The way that my brain is currently laid out, there's just not a place to file that. The city's Catholic church was built in the 20s while the Japanese were in control as well. How did that happen?